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Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Format Wars : Inflection Point?

Toshiba, the big player behind HD-DVD is surprised at Warner Bros decision to fully backup Blu-ray standard.Today, there are more hardware companies making Blu-ray players than HD-DVD. Major Blu-Ray brands such as Panasonic, Samsung, Pioneer, Sharp, Sony, LG, etc...

Last year, an undecided Warner Bros. Entertainment, announced it would release films on the Blu-ray format as well. Last month, Warner committed to supporting both standards. For starters, look at this comparison note. As i wrote , earlier In the near future, movie goers can have the same interactive experience typically available in multiplex. Blu-Ray technology can enable viewers go from watching an action movie to participating in an interactive game based on the movie, or he could switch to a 3-D version of a particular scene. Massive storage capacities up to 200 gigabytes supported by Blu Ray- provide an almost endless capacity for add-ons by home audiences. Blu-Ray provides incredible backup possibility. Other than video files, all personal data (documents, music, photos, and what not) would fit in a couple dual-layer Blu-Ray disc quietly. Sony, the main technology muscle behind Blu-ray stated that in fact, part of the justification for acquiring MGM was the profits to be realized from reissuing the 4,100 films in MGM's library in the Blu-Ray format. Sony has a critical mass of movies that it can release on Blu-Ray. Aside from its own titles, Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Lions Gate have agreed to release their titles on Blu-Ray. Paramount, DreamWorks and Universal support HD-DVD.

As I wrote before, the situations of Sony and Toshiba are not symmetrical. For Sony, the Blu-Ray is an integral part of its overall strategy. For Toshiba, the HD-DVD is just another product they manufacture. A company reaching an accommodating deal on licensing fees could also end up making money by manufacturing the Blu-Ray DVDs.We now need to see how the major markets react to these developments from the consumer side – markets may have a decisive say as well. Toshiba claims that HD DVD players and PCs have outsold Blu-ray in the US market in 2007. Remember - in the DVD Vs DIVX war, may studioes supported DIVX against DVD initially. DVD prevailed - DIVX is nowhere in sight now. This time thhe Bluray camp looks lot more formidable and credible as well - so that makes this emerging development lot more interesting.

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